Imagine living in a futuristic world where everything is so vivid and lively. But the one problem is that the people that are surrounding you are either human or replicant and its near impossible for you to tell who is what and what is considered human. Well if you can imagine living in a world like this, I’d like to introduce you to the world of Blade Runner where the theme of posthumanism is so promenade you cant even tell that it’s there.
The theme of posthumanism is most represented by the replicants in the movie and how they are brought to life and what makes them human. In one of the first scenes of the film we meet the character Rachel, when you first see rachel you realize that there is a glow in her eyes that is so unmistakable that you can’t miss it. In the scene we also have our main character Deckard.
Deckard is an officer in the LAPD and his title is know as a blade runner.
The purpose of Blade Runners is hunt down bioengineered beings known as replicants and “retire” (kill) them. In the scene Deckard is giving Rachel a test the blade runners give to members of society to determine if the are a replicant. Throughout this scene we learn that rachel is different from other replicant and how she is more human than human. it goes without saying that the best science fiction stories are the ones that present us with ideas about our humanity, rather than just pursuing the logic of technological futurism (Bergstrom).
This quote shows how the genre of sci fi has changed our perception of what it means to be human and asks us if something that isn’t really a person can still be human. Now this theory isn’t technically posthumanism but later on in the film we learn that replicants like rachel are made with human memories from a person who has passed on.In the film the replicants are almost presented as perfect humans. Roy Batty is in fact a fairly perfect human specimen: strong, handsome, and erudite. (Bergstrom).
The replicants in the film being portrayed as perfect humans is an interesting thing because it depends on the viewpoint of the people watching the film. Some can view the film and say no the replicants are not human but if you watch the film multiple times you start to see the replicants in a different light. One of the great things about the film and how it shows the replicants just want to live, they recognize the fact that they are not human and have implanted memories but since they have been created they just want to keep living. Batty’s plea to Tyrell is simple, I want more life, father! One could interpret Batty’s subsequent murder of Tyrell as justified punishment for Tyrell’s promethean hubris and refusal to grant Batty more life. Batty’s final speech about all he has seen in his admittedly brief life and all that will be lost, Like tears in the rain, after he has saved Deckard’s life (while Deckard has been trying to kill them the whole time) forces the viewer to question his or her initial assumptions about the replicants humanity.
Batty’s sheer enjoyment of life, desire to live, and willingness to show mercy is perhaps more human than the callous and drained existence most of the human characters live out. As a new version of Frankenstein’s monster, perhaps Batty is more frightening for all the ways that he does seem to surpass the human. (Bergstrom)This quote brings into question what happens when the replicants come to the end of their 4 year life cycle and what happens to the memories that they created since they were created and given memories. It also brings up the fact that sometimes things that aren’t human can also do human things like when batty saved deckard’s like even though he had been trying to kill him. It also brings up the point of what if something designed and built by man can change and because something better than human.
One of the other themes that is in the film is the theme of the morals of the characters Deckard and the replicants The central problems in Blade Runner are essentially moral ones. As producer Michael Deeley points out, Should the replicants kill to gain moral life? Should Harrison Ford be killing them simply because they want to exist? (Whitehead). This quote is an interesting one because of how it fits into the theme of the weird. It fits in because who really is on the right side of the decision to kill the replicants, bouncing back to what was stated earlier, yes the replicats are technically not human when they are brought to life but when the live for the next 4 years they develop and change and eventually become there own person.
This quote makes it interesting because when you break it down why is Deckard killing them if they consider themselves human.When it comes to what makes the replicants human, it’s not just the memories that its that they also have emotions. In most films if one of the characters is a robot or a different type of life form it usually a normal thing for the character to not have emotions. So replicants arguably do feel emotions, and they have memories. Does that make them human?….It’s a very strong case for treating [a non-human] with the same legal rights we give a human. We wouldn’t call [Rachel] a human, but maybe a person, (Boissoneault). This quote really brings in the point of what the replicats are and how they are still considered citizens in the world of blade runner and how they are considered human in that world. In the film it is addressed that the replicants were built to be laborers and were given short life spans so they were unable to develop emotions over time.
In the beginning of the film Deckard gives the Voigt-Kamp (V-K) test, which monitors emotional response by means of a subject’s involuntary iris fluctuations, capillary dilation, and blush response, he gives the test to Rachel at the request of Tyrell (the creator of the replicants). Deckard gives the test but he in unaware Rachel is a replicant until the end of the 100 question test (which normally takes 20). Rachel is confirmed to be a replicant but the reason it was so hard to determine was because she has artificial emotions which is usually what separates the humans from the replicants. Eventually other replicants like Roy Batty start to develop their own emotions and memories and they what to keep living, knowing that his termination dates is imminent, he goes to Tyrell, hoping that he will increase his lifespan. Tyrell states You were made as well as we could make you. batty eventually replies But not to last. that is when Tyrell says the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You’re the prodigal son. this brings up the question what happens when you get a replicant that understands that they only have a limited time on earth. Well that is what happens with Roy in the movie.
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